The effects of preschool can last a lifetime. But it has to be high-quality to have that kind of impact. According to research, 3- and 4-year-olds who attend a high-quality preschool can position them for academic success for years to come. At the same time, research also shows that most preschool programs are not of very good quality. Many of our most vulnerable children, many children from middle-class families attend the lowest quality programs. There’s a huge demand across the country to develop more high-end preschool programs since early years’ matter, and getting into the “right” preschool can carve the trajectory of your child's remaining decades.
Parents are often uncertain about what actually matters when evaluating a potential preschool, Short Hills in view to constraints on price, availability and location. No matter what educational philosophy or model an early childhood classroom uses, effective preschool programs share common elements that should be easily identifiable on the first visit itself. Here are the crucial elements that you should look for when choosing a preschool:
Classroom Environment- Preschool classrooms should have an open floor plan with low shelves, tables and chairs and the bathroom section should be within view of the teacher, besides being conducive to learning which should feel joyful and friendly, and offering a variety of activities. Observe the surroundings and see how safe it is if your kid wasn’t being watched every second. Methods of imparting the basic academic skills in reading, math, science and social studies should be through discovery and creative activities.
You can inquire about things like the amount of time spent in group activities, time spent in free play, etc.
Teachers- Assess the quality of children’s relationships with the staff, especially teachers who should guide academic growth and model classroom behaviour. Pay close attention to the friendliness of the teachers and the language used in the classroom. Observe a few different classrooms to see how the teachers interact with students, who should constantly be observing kids as they work and play, prompt students to resolve disputes, look engaged, ask open-ended questions, etc.
Discipline Policies- Preschools should emphasize positive approaches to teaching children new skills and proactive strategies to manage behaviour, and help children understand their feelings and interact with their peers. You might come across pictures and charts to help kids identify feelings, where corporal punishment is a big NO, teachers deal with misbehaviours calmly.
Safety- Schedule a tour and check whether or not chemicals are stored in closed cabinets, tall furniture is secured to walls, basic standards of cleanliness are met, fire safety certifications are up to date, no open bodies of water- all these ensure that your kid is in no way at undue physical risk while at preschool.
Stay away from programs that do not utilize a consistent, research-based curriculum; adults aren’t passionate (teachers look disinterested); teachers do not have proper training, certifications and support to execute the educational approach and/or curriculum being utilized by the school; the classroom feels cramped, dirty, dark or unorganized (kids require adequate space to engage in gross motor activities).
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